Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...

Other sites:

:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::

I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.

... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....

If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

Adventures in Orchids

Apparently I am now collecting them...

There's room for one - or maybe two, at a pinch - more on that bedroom windowsill (the only one in the house that's ideal for them). Let's see what I find. Well, that didn't last long...

EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid since 2007 and it just keeps flowering...

AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!

RO - Rescued orchid photo to come when it flowers. Phalaenopsis. Rescued from a bin up the road in 2019. Classic!

TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?

CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.

GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...

DO - Dendrobium Orchid. Smells of wisteria, so beautiful...

RO2 - Rescued orchid no 2. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I rescued from the wall along the road middle of 2021.

PO. Pink orchid. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I bought at Cabury Garden Centre on special, late 2021. It's much happier here!

TWO. Teeny weeny orchid, Phalaenopsis. Rescued from Tesco end 2021 (I think).

My IMDb ep summaries

Arthur of the Britons
Star Maidens
The Starlost
Space Rangers
The Sentinel (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Swamp Thing (part: season 3)
Gravedale High
Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Cybertron (part)
Misfits of Science (four eps)
Zoo Gang
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

Missing Earthian ep
Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


"Autumnal - nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth - reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere..."

(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Act 2: Tom Stoppard)


I love this time of year. I love the colours, the sharp slant of sunlight on the trees, mosaics of acid-yellow and harts- blood, velvet and darkness and a haze of mist-grey over the hills. I love its immanence, its mellowness, the tang of frost just around the corner of the year...

Watching the little birds in the goat-willow in my garden, I realised something more.

I love this land with a fierce, possessive love, deep-rooted in two thousand years of history. From the frosted beaches and cloud-brushing peaks of the north to the wind-haunted meanderings of the rivers of the east, from the sensuous rolling patchworked hills of the south to the demanding dark moors of the west, this land seeps into bone and blood and synapse, mother of motley nobility, culture, individual freedoms. It can be known. It can be understood. It can be felt deep inside.

I love its effortless eccentricities, its vigour and vibrancy, its flawed perfections, its silent strength and tenacious resilience, its hard-won tolerances and intense and variable beauty, the profound energy in its sacred mythical landscape.

Home and more-than-home, the forces that shape and protect and bind, in me, as I am in the land. Love returning love in the stillness for those who'll only take the time to listen...

(Joules, Autumn 2004)

All photographs taken by Joules unless otherwise specified. All photographs © Joules A Taylor or other specified individual.

In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme

Currently enjoying:
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

Currently miffed at:
Nestlé, Nonpres Tinyhands Fart, Toadface Farage

Currently maintaining:

Blog Pics
I've gathered some of my pages of photos together: the page of links is here. I'll be adding more as time goes by!

Evil Squid
A Little Glossary of Taylorspeke
(in no particular order)

plit popints - n. Typo for 'plot points' typed on a keyboard with more than half the characters worn off...

[PING] (alt [ping]) - n. A brainwave. The text equivalent of a lightbulb going on blindingly over someone's head. Usually mine. And usually at the most inconvenient of times. [sigh]

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

wulmet - n. A person of little or no talent who somehow inveigles himself into a position where he is in power over other, far more talented people and uses his position to downplay them in order to try to make himself feel superior.

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

Flatterfed - vb. 27.02.08: my typo for flattered, but since it's so cutely apt I thought it would fit nicely here. Lutra defined it as "the lovely warm feeling of satisfaction resulting from enthusiastic reviews..." (which I've been getting for my MB fics).

Composted - vb, 'compos mentis', mentally capable of working. Contrast with uncomposted or non- composted, not 'compos mentis', not capable of working, hungover...

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

Kewp - how Ken says 'thank you'. We rather like Lutra's 'nanx', too...

Musekick - noun, music, without which I cannot work.

'feinne - noun, caffeine, essential for correct mental functioning, especially first thing in the morning. I prefer mine in the form of SodaStream Diet Coke. And on that subject...

Skoosh - verb, noun. To skoosh - to add CO2 to a sodastream bottle filled with water to make it fizzy, prior to adding Diet Coke syrup (or just drinking as sparkling water). A skoosh - a bottle of water that has been skooshed. Skooshy - something that has been skooshed, water, or that whipped cream that comes in tins you have to shake then upend and press the nozzle...

Shoogle - verb. To shake gently, for example, of roast potatoes in a roasting tin to ensure they're covered with oil. I have vague memories of this being a real Scottish colloquialism...

Stegasaurus - n, spider of the genus tegenaria. Why? No idea. I just find it easier, that's all...
Edit 08.09.07: Lutra thinks that Brian is a good name for a mini-stegasaurus. From now on, any 'Brian's in the posts may be assumed to be a tegenaria. Except where otherwise specified.

Viterals - noun, vitamins + minerals. Also a pun on victuals.

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

Parrots - noun, paracetemol (from the old joke "Why are there no aspirin tablets in the jungle? Because the parrots eat 'em all...")

Maggles - noun, magpies. As opposed to non-magical people.

Flamewings - noun. Swifts. So called because the first time we became aware of them was an early summer evening when they were flying high, the light from the setting sun seemingly turning their wings to flames. Lovely little birds. We always know summer's arrived when we hear their high-pitched squeeing.

Murfs - noun, moths.

Peasant cut - noun, roughly cut up into big chunks, e.g. vegetables chopped in a hurry for a hearty stew or soup. By extension, anything prepared in a hurry - haircut, material, even a first draft of a story...

Giraffe - noun, a carafe (of wine, coffee or water, for example).

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

Splings - noun, Kai's spelling homework: by extension, any spelling.

Tyops - noun, typos. var toyps, typso, psyto, psoyt, etc. Usual result of a dose of the fingerials (see next entry).

Fingerials - (pr. fin GEEE ree yalls) noun, fingers that will not type what you want them to.

Haddock - noun, time, of which I never have enough. (Origin of this term here.)

Sleep - noun? vb? a.k.a. sheeeeeeeeep.... I used to know what this word meant...

The Updates Blog

The place to stay notified of WaveWrights' Fiction updates: Zone, Darkside, DarkRealm, Matrix, Vault, Safehouse 13...

my computer gremlin Butch. click the pic to see the larger image

Butch, my computer gremlin. Click the pic for larger version, and read his adventures here...

Butch by the talented 


A gift for me! Butch by the very talented Sylverthorne. Click pic for larger image.



This is MY haddock. It was caught exclusively for me by Talon. No, you can't have any. I need all the haddock I can get!!

A'lestrel by Valkyrie.

A'lestrel - a gift for me from Valkyrie...

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


Another gorgeous Valkyrie gift for me - Benten the Albino Alsatian! Click thumbnail for larger image.

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



Oekai by Bakayaro Onna - Radittsu at his sexiest...

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...

So what is it with the haddock? Am I some kind of fish freak?

I'll leave that to others to decide.

The tale (or tail if you prefer) harks back to October 2000, when my GoodTwin and I, ably assisted by Sue, ran the first UK Professionals convention...
It's common knowledge that I never have enough time, and I was determined not to bewail the fact that weekend: hence I promised not to use the 'T' word...
Of course, that didn't really work (if nothing else I had to let the trainees know what times things were supposed to be happening!) so we decided a substitute word would be employed instead. There were several suggestions. Banana came very close to being chosen. However, I eventually decided that 'haddock' fitted the bill nicely. Ever since, haddock=time. Hence the title of my forthcoming autobiography,
My Half-Life in the Haddock Space Continuum....

Normally I wouldn't, but these were just irresistible...

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

These Too-Kawaii Kitties
were adopted from
Ghost's Anime Page (which appears to have disappeared, alas...)

Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

Anime still needed to complete series' I'm collecting... Many thanks to everyone who has helped me acquire the collection!
Ai no Kusabi

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

   All 3 eps on Video, dubbed
   Dj: Cyberage 1-3
   Illustrated Book 2 (Benten's) in Japanese

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

   English Manga: Vol 1
   Japanese Manga: Vol 1-7 complete
   Tarot Pack
   R.G.Veda video

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

   (Studio Ironcat) Manga Vols 1 -5 (complete)

Yami no Matsuei

   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1 - 11 (complete: I believe vol 12 is only available online)
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.

[::..Joules SPfied..::]

... this is Terra? How the hell'd I end up here...?

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
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01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
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01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
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01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
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01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
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01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
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01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
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01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/04/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019
01/07/2019 - 31/07/2019
01/08/2019 - 31/08/2019
01/09/2019 - 30/09/2019
01/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019
01/01/2020 - 31/01/2020
01/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
01/03/2020 - 31/03/2020
01/04/2020 - 31/04/2020
01/05/2020 - 31/05/2020
01/06/2020 - 31/06/2020
01/07/2020 - 31/07/2020
01/08/2020 - 31/08/2020
01/09/2020 - 30/09/2020
01/10/2020 - 31/10/2020
01/11/2020 - 30/11/2020
01/12/2020 - 31/12/2020
01/01/2021 - 31/01/2021
01/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
01/03/2021 - 31/03/2021
01/04/2021 - 30/04/2021
01/05/2021 - 31/05/2021
01/06/2021 - 30/06/2021
01/07/2021 - 31/07/2021
01/08/2021 - 31/08/2021
01/09/2021 - 30/09/2021
01/10/2021 - 31/10/2021
01/11/2021 - 30/11/2021
01/12/2021 - 31/12/2021
01/01/2022 - 31/01/2022
01/02/2022 - 28/02/2022
01/03/2022 - 31/03/2022
01/04/2022 - 30/04/2022
01/05/2022 - 30/05/2022
01/06/2022 - 31/06/2022
01/07/2022 - 31/07/2022
01/08/2022 - 31/08/2022
01/09/2022 - 30/09/2022
01/10/2022 - 31/10/2022
01/11/2021 - 31/11/2021
01/12/2022 - 31/12/2022
01/01/2023 - 31/01/2023
01/02/2023 - 28/02/2023
01/03/2023 - 31/03/2023
01/04/2023 - 30/04/2023
01/08/2023 - 31/08/2023
01/11/2023 - 31/11/2023

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Later edit: today's dinner

A little food porn for Lutra - baked stuffed marrow with (furtled!) spuds and mixed veg. All homegrown, except for the peas, onions and minced beef (and even they are organic...) Dessert is sliced greengages, blackberries and blueberries, all from the garden. Disgustingly healthy! egrets today

Egrets in the greenhouse! ->

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Friday, July 30, 2010

white egret orchid flower today

Not perfect - it was a little dull and windy outside today: Ken will try to get some indoors over the weekend - but it does show some of the detail. They are exquisite, and they do smell faintly of vanilla...

Buggered my left shoulder somehow, with shooting pains down my arm and up my neck behind my ear, so haven't managed to do very much today (not to mention it's extremely distracting, defeating 'prufen and parrots combined). Though that being said, I have done a little more to Heart (more on that subject, hopefully, in the next week or so).

In the garden - I have some corn cobs now swelling! And several more marrows developing. The leeks are coming along quite well, and a brief furtle (yes, it's a real word!) in the potato growing bag revealed the presence of some fine spuds, so I'll need to investigate a little more thoroughly next week.

It seems, at the moment, I can run the computer for about six hours before it starts overheating, which is of course nowhere near long enough. Have left a message for Nick...

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

cricketcricket too

Our grasshoppers are particularly large this year, and we also have some very colourful crickets (this is up on a drainpipe, so I couldn't get closer).

Still having problems with this machine. Took the side cover off and dusted (not that it was very mucky), but the heat and the dusty burning smell seems to be coming from the power unit (the one I had replaced just over a year ago). It doesn't appear to be actually overheating (not badly, at any rate) and the rest of the computer is cool and behaving itself. Going to give it another few days and then contact Nick at computer geeks, if necessary...

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

white egret orchids

I haz a egret!!

white egret size


They are very small....

Better photo when Ken can get some decent close-ups.


Pretty sky last night...

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heh. This blog is eight years old today.

It's been a day of trying to tackle the delayed weeding/pruning jobs in the garden - Kai's currently cutting back all the greenery around his railway track. I've deadheaded around the apple tree and pared back the new blackberry growth, and removed the St John's Wort at the side of Roeg's Pool (when Ken's finished the wall we're going to set stones in concrete along that edge to stop the herb coming back and help keep the track stable). Still have to attack the rest of the ivy tree, which is a pretty major job, and clear the rest of the ivy from the small plot with the meadowsweet, but it's just a matter of nibbling at it...

Minor disaster in the greenhouse yesterday - two of the cheap and flimsy clips that attach to the frame and that are the only thing I can find locally snapped, letting the main branch of one of the Black Russian tomato plants collapse. I've rescued the eight double-fist-sized toms it held (they're now ripening on the kitchen window-shelf), and propped the plant up as best I can, but these are heavy. Have to see if I can find some of the heavy duty clips.

Later edit: second marrow of the year

Second marrow of the year (we've already eaten the first). I think I'll stuff this one.
<- corn cobs

Fluffy little developing corn cobs! ->


That's Kai you can just see standing - upright, he's not crouching or bent over - behind the maize...



Monday, July 26, 2010

Kai and I went to see Inception.

I wasn't falling over myself keen - as I've said before, I'm not that fond of DiCaprio - but anything that explores dreams/dreamscapes/perceptions of alternate realities is always worth a look, especially given the truly bizarre dreams assailing me at the moment...

It's superb. Wholly extraordinary. It's two and a half hours long but the time simply flew. It's gloriously complex, layer on layer on layer, unfolding with perfect timing. I'd rate it half a star behind District 9. A definite must-have, and highly recommended (with no reservations this time). Wonderful wonderful film. And the end is just perfect...



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Computer behaving today...

Busy as usual. Kai's machine has now been backed up, cleaned up and defragged (this last took about five hours - never been done before!) Managed some housekeeping myself, wrote a couple of book synopses, tended garden and greenhouse, and hose-pipe watered this evening. Such a terribly exciting Sunday!



Still here, though I'm hardly daring to breathe: computer behaving itself more or less, although the power unit does now feel a bit warm.

It's been quite a successful evening. The data cable doesn't have the cd with the drivers on it that was supposed to be included, so I'll have to take it back and complain. However, with a little advisory help from Lutra I can now at least send emails from my phone, though apparently not receive them.

This is the photo of the black dalek I took with the phone's camera in Broadmead earlier today (yes, it's wearing a yellow hat. It was collecting for Marie Curie Cancer Research. Yes, it is surreal here at times...) I also managed to set the Manga Video Theme as my ringtone (uploaded the mp3 to a spare JAT page then downloaded it to the phone - dread to think how much that cost! And there's probably a much cheaper and easier way of doing it, but what the hell...)

The rest I'll pick up and sort out bit by bit.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

A very quick post while my computer is still working (I think the power unit fan has gone or something...)

Wonderful day with Wendy! Even managed to find a USB cable that fits my phone (although I haven't risked trying it yet, not until I sort out the problem with this machine). Many thanks - great to see you and chat.

Fingers crossed I can sort out the problem quickly.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

goldfinches at the feeder

Not easy to see, but there are two goldfinches at the sunflower seed feeder in the medlar. It's lovely to see them: we grow teasels just to try to persuade them to visit. With a little luck they'll come back when our plants flower and fruit.

I can also hear at least one wren out there - although the voice is higher and less powerful than our resident wren. I wonder if it's a youngster?

Much of yesterday was spent trying to get Kai's passport organised (yes, he needs one for Germany. I'd hoped the school would organise a group passport - Kim told me that's what her sprogs' school does - but no, the kids all need their own...) You'd think it would be relatively easy, but because of my change of name, we've had to send off not only the application and two photos (Dave-next-door signed one for us) and Kai's birth certificate (not the short one we got when he was registered, oh no: we had to fork out another £9 for the full one), but also our marriage certificate and my change of name document. And pay the post office £8 handling charge plus another £3 (optional, but safer, and we should get the passport in about two weeks) insurance for their guaranteed return. [growl] At least the actual passport was only £49 instead of the adult £80, as he's under 16... This trip had better be good!

In other news, Wendy's coming up for the day tomorrow - looking forward to that!

veg bed today

All coming along very nicely...

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

[bemused] This is the sort of sign I expect to see here...

Oddly specific Darkroom oddly specific electric cow

(Both pics from the delightfully surreal Oddly Specific site...)



Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Gah, tired already. My own fault for getting up at 6.30, to get over to Tesco shopping and back before Ken left. Still, it made for a productive morning - got the rest of the leeks planted in the veg bed, set a sling under the second marrow, even managed to get a wash load almost dry before the rain set in.

Although Tyjer isn't happy that I've made it rain...

Hayfever's playing up again - it's been very quiet for a few weeks. Wonder what's producing pollen at the... ah. The sweetcorn. That'd be a pain! Time for a piriteeze. And a couple of 'prufens: my right rotator cuff has gone now...

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lettuces and a couple more mange tout seedlings transplanted into veg bed: toms, mange tout, dwarf beans, courgettes, Swiss chard, carrots and green pepper harvested for dinner! More marrows appearing; sweetcorn not quite as high as an elephant's eye, but coming on nicely all the same.

Swamp Thing reaching new depths of WTFery... And wow for the fab special effects! Wonderful for the 1970s. Only problem is the series was made in the 1990s...

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Tedious but necessary, and taking advantage of the lovely weather - washed and drip-dried all the horribly grubby sofa seat covers...

[bemused] And we've been watching more Swamp Thing of an evening. This has resulted in two notable observations: 1, the episode In the Beginning is one of the daftest things we've ever watched (Kai and I MSTed it all the way through); and 2, the eps with Arcane are fun, but the ones without him are, in general, considerably better. Strange but true...

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A bitty sort of day. A little garden and greenhouse tending, Rosa now repotted (no, didn't take any pics this time, wanted to get her back into her tank as quickly as possible), and the strawberry wine is now bottled...

... woooof! 'tis amazing stuff - very dry, with a kick like a liqueur, and a wonderful delicate strawberry taste as an afterburn. Very very pleased with it - but it's not quaffing wine. Will need to be saved for special occasions.

And a bit of silliness. Most people reading this will only know me with long hair, but it's only been that way for the last few years. Prior to that it's been all shapes, styles and lengths - and to prove it I've put together a page of photos of its various incarnations - find it here. Go and have a laugh! [g] I love change...

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

white egrets

White egrets. Definitely flower buds... ->

short hair

Back of my head. (Sorry, you can't see the front yet. Sun was in my eyes.) As you can see, the new haircut is considerably shorter than the old!

Busy day. Four machine loads of washing through before Kai and I headed out into town - mainly to buy him a new watch, only we couldn't find what he wanted, as the shop has closed down... Still, got everything I needed at Wild Oats and a large bar of Porridge soap from Lush (along with some Karma dusting powder, which, they tell me, is being discontinued. Bloody typical).

And watched another three eps of Swamp Thing after dinner - Hide in the Night, Pay Day, and Return of LaRoche. Great fun!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

To my delight the sweetcorn survived last night's wild weather with minimal damage (only one has been knocked slightly askew): indeed, the female flowers (which produce the actual corn) have begun to appear! This is excellent. As is everything in the greenhouse: the second cucumber is almost ready for picking, and tonight I prepared and froze the first batch of tomatoes. The first marrow is now supported in a sling to keep it off the soil (to prevent it rotting/insects getting at it) and the second one is beginning to develop. And the mange tout and dwarf beans are still merrily producing. It's all good!

Went up to Broadwalk for a successful shopping trip this morning: no DVDs but I found everything else I was looking for, including a hand cultivator in the 99p shop (it'll probably fall to pieces in a year, but at that price I'm not too bothered. It's metal, it can be recycled).

And Swamp Thing Vol 3 arrived! [GLOMPS Onna] We watched the first three eps tonight - Lesser of Two Evils (which is great fun), Revelations, and Future Tense, which is a fine, eco-biased ep (I'm particularly fond of those). All most enjoyable.

And - don't faint - I actually went to a hairdresser and had my hair cut professionally. First time in nearly twenty one years. Had to be done though: since I had Ken cut the long bit off I haven't been able to trim the back properly, and it was looking distinctly messy. So I made an appointment at Casanova up Sandy Park Rd, and Danielle did a fantastic job for me. No, sorry, no photos yet, going to see if Ken can take a couple tomorrow.

All in all a good day. I even managed to make time to organise my seeds ready for next year: the surplus from this year are now safely ensconced in the fridge, where they should keep happily until next spring. And I don't need to buy any more - I have everything I plan to grow already, including a few new varieties. Oh, no, correction: if the sweetcorn works this year I'll need to buy more for next, but other than that I'm all set.

And now it's back to the loom...

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

And yet more weather, very strong winds today, heavy rain and hot humid sunny spells (I fear for my sweetcorn in the stormy winds tonight). Since the main water butt was overfilling again (by which I mean it was full and any excess was diverting into the usual household drain - dreadful waste of water!) I thought I'd top up the frewtnog pool, only to find, when I'd cleared away some of the grass and honeysuckle, that it was empty - just a damp sludge left at the bottom. Erk!

Filled it quickly and promised to make sure it stays that way, and am now keeping fingers crossed the newts haven't suffered too badly.

Watched my latest Lovefilm rental this evening, Devil May Cry - and for once we viewed the subbed version (I usually have to suffer the dubbed versions if we're all watching). It's odd. Gorgeous characters, lovely graphics, tedious main premise. I kind of feel I should really love it, but I kept finding myself almost dropping off. The first four eps were on disc 1: I won't bother with the rest (unless I can pick them up really really cheaply somewhere, which seems very unlikely).

We had a micro-second power cut half an hour ago, bloody nuisance as of course it shut down and rebooted this machine. (Oddly, everything in the house went off except the TV. No idea why. Is the TV such a 'vital' part of life that they all come with built-in ups facilities these days?) Hoping it doesn't happen again, as it shuts off Ken's alarm, and that could cause problems come morning...

Later edit: OK Lutra. You mentioned the silver mini-skirt, you could have dropped a hint about the silver afro-wig as well!

... and the stockings...

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rain! Lots and lots and LOTS of rain! The main butt was overfilling, so I took advantage of a (hot humid and sunny, ick) break in the showers to fill up the pool in the square and Roeg's Pool, both of which have been suffering with the lack of rain and very hot weather. Took seven full watering cans-worth for the square pool and another six for Roeg's Pool, but they both look much happier now (and the frogs and newts will be chuffed). While I was at it I refilled the water bin and water butt at the greenhouse too. White Egret Orchid spikeNow my arms are dropping off and I haven't done my shoulders any good, but it desperately needed doing (more rain is forecast and I wanted some space in the main butt to take full advantage) and Ken wasn't available to carry for me. (We need Kai's railway extension!)


These are the White Egret Orchids - you can now see the buds forming. This was taken with my camera, hence the lack of extreme close-up: Ken will take some decent ones when he has time. Very pleased though - so far so good, and there are at least four buds on each of the two plants (the third one has leaves but hasn't developed fully. Fingers crossed for next year).


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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So, after a day of running around trying to get things planted in between the (much welcomed) showers, it was John Cabot's Summer Showcase this evening - great fun, and even more talented kids than ever. Kai and his group performed Muse's Supermassive Black Hole...

JC Showcase
That's Kai at the back on the left, playing electric guitar (he never ends up where I can get a decent pic!)

Doesn't have a name yet

And I entered the raffle. Don't usually these days, as I never win anything. Except tonight.

[bemused] I think I'll keep him. He's machine washable, and has a cute smirk and little beady eyes. But he needs a name...

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Monday, July 12, 2010

... beautiful...

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

sleeping catsleeping cat

Sleepy cat is sleepy...

Normal busy day. Highlights: commas, enough rain overnight to half-fill the water butt, and noctilucent clouds. Beautiful.

Oh, and I archived the blog to disk. Hard drive now has 155megs extra free space.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Right - catch-up time...

Slightly later edit: [bemused] you can almost see the veg growing. Since this morning the sweetcorn flower tassels are now just peeking out of the top of the plants, and I'm having to pick mange tout twice a day, as the pods that are too small in the morning are the right size by the evening. We have the first marrow developing now, as well, and enough tomatoes for the first batch for the freezer! (There'll be a cucumber ready for picking in a few days too...)

I lubs my gardin...

It really looks as though Ken will be able to finish remortaring the wall this summer! This has been a major job, spread over 15 years - 100 ft long and well over 6 ft high in places, and the work can only be done when it's dry and sunny, as otherwise the mortar doesn't dry properly (and can crack) or is washed out by rain.


This is the current section: last year's repair is on the far right, the section he's scraped out, removing the old ashy mortar, ivy roots, weed roots and other junk, ready to select the stones to be mortared back in (we have piles of them, rocks that fell out as the mortar gradually decayed over the years before we bought the place) is in the centre, while on the left you can see the part he hasn't tackled yet. The top of the wall is always the most difficult, as it means standing at the top of a step-ladder (which itself is standing on soil - never terribly stable). BUT it's nearly done now.

Then we plan to change the veg bed a little, cutting off the awkward rounded corner and extending outwards by a few feet in the direction of the house. This will give me more growing space and also leave room for Kai's proposed additional railway track down the fence side of the patch (if we can ever afford it...) This will mean moving the stones that are acting as a retaining wall and rebuilding it along the new perimeter, but we'll have plenty of sand and cement left, so Ken's suggested mortaring the rocks, making it stronger and more permanent (and no longer a refuge for slugs!) So that's the project for the autumn.

Of course, there are a couple of other household projects suggested last year that I had forgotten about: painting the front door and jamb, and the back door and jamb, and the inside of the lounge windowsills, which are in a terrible state. All of this requires fine weather and lugging the paint home from Wilkinson's, so I need to start working out schedules.

So much for thinking I'd finished after doing the bathroom!


<- The sweetcorn is still doing well, but the actual end results are still a bit of a moot point. Keeping fingers crossed for plenty of sun in August. And a bit of rain in the meantime! Though you have to admire how sweetcorn has evolved: the leaves funnel water directly down to the base of the plant, as I saw while watering last night. Very efficient!

So far so good for the apple tree. We have a couple of dozen apples developing nicely, although I'm still checking for pests and keeping it well-watered. They're not ripe yet! ->

watermelongalia melon

<- watermelon and Galia melon ->

Unfortunately it looks as though I might only have one watermelon: all the tiny fruits have died off. I assume that's because it really needs much more space to grow. Eh well. Maybe when I get the coldframe...

On TV: the fourth season of The IT Crowd is now half way through and as far as we're concerned so far it's the best yet! Season three was lacking, but four is insanely surreal (or surrealy insane). Great stuff.

Otherwise there's not much on at the moment: everything we were following - Flashforward, V, CSI - has finished. We're watching the first season of Warehouse 13 again, in preparation for season two (which I'm hoping will be shown on a channel we get, unlike TrueBlood season two, dammit), and picking up on all the little things we missed first time around, which is fun. And the new season of CSI: Miami starts next Tuesday - will probably catch that. (The CSIs aren't 'must watches', but they are fun and a way for me to sit down for an hour instead of charging around getting stuff done!)

My last Lovefilm rental was Parasomnia. I was quite looking forward to it, but it was a major disappointment. Shades of The Cell, which is a much better film. Pity, but you never know 'til you've watched it.

Right, I think that's everything pretty much up to date. Rosa's fresh coir substrate is drying out on the table behind me: we can repot her soon. I've repotted my variegated ficus and pruned off one branch (seeing if I can get it to root), which it much needed. Kai's summer holidays start on the 23rd of this month: we don't have much planned, since the German school trip in October is taking priority, but there are a few things we'd like to do. Will see how it goes.

Back to the garden. At the moment we're trying to clear the ivy from the meadowsweet patch...

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Friday, July 09, 2010

White Egret Orchid

White Egret Orchid today!

And everything is blooming. I now have an almost full bag of mange tout, a handful of ripe tomatoes (and the first cherry tom reddening), and the first of the dwarf French beans ready to be blanched and frozen. The first of the Swiss chard is ready to be picked too, and it won't be long before I can cook with my own peppers. (Unfortunately I won't be able to grow enough for all our needs, but they'll certainly help - and they taste wonderful!)

It's so hot Tyjer is simply lying asleep in the shade...

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Thursday, July 08, 2010


Busy. Productive. Useful. Me, that is, not the cat...

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

watermelon today

Size today - not a great deal different. I'll stop posting pics now until/unless there's a dramatic increase, but it's only in a pot (admittedly quite a large pot) so there's a limit to its maximum size.

[suspicious glance askance] Since my comment here that I don't seem to be able to grow courgettes, my three plants have been behaving themselves and are now producing merrily. Have they been reading my mind - or, more alarmingly, my blog?

Yesterday evening I spotted that a very recent version of Sherlock Holmes was on TV, starring Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones in Torchwood) as Dr Watson (can we call him Doctor What?) I don't think I've ever seen him in a not-Ianto rôle, so despite the low IMDb rating and reviews, we settled down to watch...

... ye gods... It's absolutely dreadful. Dreadful. It's not even so bad it's good. The worst Holmes I've ever seen (his real name is Robert Sherlock Holmes? And he has a brother called Thorp?? Has anyone told Conan-Doyle?), some truly dire acting (not on not-Ianto's part, fortunately), plainly stupid fx (a rubber T-rex and a hot air balloon with helicopter rotors on the top?) and a wholly ludicrous story. I assume the film was brought out as some sort of homage or parody of the recent not-particularly-good Robert Downey Jr version - hence Holmes first name and the Iron Man element of the plot - but it failed quite dramatically. Horrible horrible film. I sat and cringed at it for twenty minutes before I couldn't bear it any longer and went to make dinner instead.

Not recommended for any Holmes fans, Conan-Doyle scholars, or... well, anyone, really.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010


... watermelon today...

So - up and out in the garden at a little after 7 am, stalking the bindweed in the square and the rockery with RoundUp(). I seem to be having considerable success in my war against the evil weed (unless, of course, the little buggers are hiding under the soil just waiting for me to populate the area with lawn chamomile and other bee-happy herbs, whereupon they will rise up from the depths like vegetable zombies and throttle all my precioussesses to death...)

[blink] Heh. Blame lack of sleep.

Also cleared out and reorganised the pots and planters under my potting table - and had a really good session of 'slaughter the gastropod', a large number of whom were hiding under said pots. Quite satisfying, although I'm mystified as to why all the snails had really thin and fragile shells.

Then it was over to Tesco at 9, and the rest of the day so far has been client site stuff...

baby galia

Baby Galia melon ->

sweet peppers

And these are my first sweet peppers! There are a lot more coming, which is great news given how many of them we eat!

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Monday, July 05, 2010

melon today

Watermelon today.

Out with Kim this morning, back to the Whitehall Garden Centre (became an immediate favourite after the last visit). Hardly anyone there: lovely leisurely look around. Bought two 60 litre bags of ericaceous compost and one of multi-purpose, a sedum purpurea, sedum sediforme, and an Ajuga Burgundy Glow for the new bed around the bird table tch', I mean bird bath - low, evergreen drought-tolerant plants that provide colourful ground cover. Also grabbed two more lawn chamomile plants and seed for next year - carrot Resistafly, cauliflower All the Year Round, and the Oriental Niche salald leaves we all like so much. Coupled with coffee on the café terrace and a great chat, it was altogether a very successful and enjoyable morning.

And Tyjer hasn't let me out of his sight since I got back!

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

watermelon Sunday

Sunday... (not so much difference - growth is probably slowing down.)



Saturday, July 03, 2010

melon again

And today...

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Friday, July 02, 2010

white egretwhite egret

The White Egrets: Ken took these for me (my camera won't cope with extreme closeups). I am certain that's a flower spike forming!

More pics as things happen.

And on the subject of flowers, my jasmine has escaped the winds so far this year and is flowering merrily around and up the ivy tree. With honeysuckle around the pool and jasmine in the meadow, the lower garden smells wonderful. Maybe I'm not as much as a failure with outdoor flowering plants as I've always thought - as long as I leave them alone to do their own thing...

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Later edit: last night's rain has done the garden a power of good and almost filled the main water butt. Kai (who is off school on an inset day today) filled up the water bin for me, and I moved the White Egret Orchids out onto the potting table for some fresh air - and I do believe that one of them has a flower spike developing in the centre. Will take a closer look tonight (and photo if there's anything to see)...

watermelon todaybaby galia melon


Watermelon this morning.

<- Tiny Galia melon!

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

watermelon 1.7.10Ty

The watermelon today ->

<- Camouflage cat tries a new place to sleep...

asploding pigeon

But mum, the pigeon asploded! *burp* No, Iz not eated it...

Though he certainly looks fat enough to have done so! At least this one got away without shedding any blood. The last one was in the meadow, and the path was splattered...

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